HILDER, Jesse Jewhurst (1881-1916)


HILDER, Jesse Jewhurst (1881-1916)
artist
the eighth child of Henry Hilder, an engineer who had come from Sussex to Australia, was born at Toowoomba, Queensland, on 23 July 1881. The family removed to Brisbane and Hilder was educated at the state school, Fortitude Valley. Winning a scholarship when 13 years of age, he spent three years at the Brisbane boys' grammar school and passed the junior public examination in 1897. Early in 1898 he be came a member of the staff of the Bank of New South Wales, Brisbane. In 1901 he was transferred to Goulburn, and in 1902 to Bega, on the south coast of New South Wales, where he joined some friends in week-end sketching. Later on he was to receive £1 for one of these sketches, his first sale. Unfortunately, about this time he began to develop pulmonary trouble. He was transferred to a Sydney suburb, but the sea air did not suit him, and during the next five years he had to obtain leave of absence from the bank several times. In 1906 he asked Julian Ashton for advice about his work and received much encouragement. He joined his classes and had practice in drawing which he realized was his weak point. Towards the end of the year he had to go into a sanatorium in Queensland for four months, but came back little improved in health. At his own request he was transferred to a branch west of the mountains in April 1907. In August he sent 21 water-colours to an exhibition of the Society of Artists. They were priced very low, from three to five guineas, and 19 were sold. These works created a sensation among the artists and critics. Hilder's health continued to be very bad and he kept moving about seeking vainly for improvement. He was able to do some painting, and at the spring exhibition of the Society of Artists his 14 waterColours were all sold.
About the beginning of 1909 Hilder was married to Phyllis Meadmore, a probationer nurse. He had told her frankly about the state of his health but it was decided to take the risk. In April 1909 the Bank of New South Wales accepted his resignation, and paid him nine months' leaving salary. He was grateful to his employers for the consideration he had received during his many years of ill-health. A cottage was taken at Epping in the hills a few miles from Sydney, and during the next two years Hilder and his wife went through many anxieties. His sales were uncertain and his prices were low. From the middle of 1911 he began to get better prices and his sales were more regular; he had no serious financial troubles for the remainder of his life, although towards the end he was feverishly trying to make some provision for his family. In April 1914 he visited Melbourne and held an exhibition of his work which was very successful. But the strain of the visit was too great, and he had to go into hospital for a fortnight. Returning to New South Wales, he was now living near Hornsby, he gradually became weaker though he continued to paint for the remaining two years of his life. He died on 10 April 1916, and was survived by his wife, who had done so much for him, and two children.
Hilder was simple and modest, shy, sensitive and reserved. His highly strung nature, constantly fretted by illness, sometimes led to estrangement from his best friends. He was fortunate in his wife, in the admiration of his fellow artists, and in finding early buyers of his paintings. He was very critical of his own work and tore up much of it; sometimes the final result was the third or fourth effort to capture the subject. He was not afraid of empty spaces and everything in the drawing was beautifully placed. His colour was always excellent, though some of his later work is painted almost in monochrome washed in on very rough paper. The treatment generally is broad, yet full of refinement and poetical feeling. The best collection of his work will be found at the national gallery at Sydney. He is also represented at the Melbourne, Adelaide and other galleries. The Ewing collection at the university of Melbourne has a good example, "The Island Trader".
The Art of J. J. Hilder, edited by Sydney Ure Smith and Bertram Stevens; J. J. Hilder Water-Colourist, 1916.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hilder — /ˈhɪldə/ (say hilduh) noun Jesse Jewhurst, 1881–1916, Australian painter of watercolours …   Australian English dictionary

  • J J Hilder — Dry lagoon (1911) J J Hilder (23 July 1881 – 10 April 1916), also known as Jesse Jewhurst Hilder, was an Australian Watercolourist from the Heidelberg School, a style of painting. Contents 1 …   Wikipedia


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